Here's the thing: When it comes to heat-styling, curly and coily hair requires extra TLC. In the hands of the wrong stylist, a blowout can leave textured hair fried, frizzy, and flat. As a curly girl, it took me years of trial and error to land a stylist who understood how to flat-iron my thick, natural hair without damaging my delicate curls.
Straightening textured strands (while still retaining health) requires a combination of proper heat application and the use of hair products free of moisture-stripping ingredients. This method is most commonly known as silk pressing. And while silk pressing is a more curl-friendly version of hair straightening, Oregon-based textured hair expert, Sydnee Smith has cultivated an even healthier version of the blowout for women with natural hair. Enter: the vegan blowout.
But what is a vegan blowout exactly? To learn more, I talked to Smith to get an in-depth look at how the treatment works, how it promotes healthy hair, and how to maintain it. Keep scrolling to learn how Smith uses veganism to help women of color achieve their healthiest hair yet.
What Is A Vegan Blowout?
As its name suggests, a vegan blowout is one that involves the use of botanical-based hair products. After transitioning to a vegan diet and experiencing its restorative effects on the body, Smith started using plant-based hair products on her clients to help them repair their damaged strands. “I realized we are made of Earth so the Earth can heal your hair,” Smith says.
The hair healing process begins as soon as clients sit down in Smith’s chair. “The first thing that I do is I go in and treat the hair. I balance the moisture and the protein because moisture and protein to hair are like the sun and water to earth. I balance out the hair strand first using my curl therapy treatments, which is a custom blend of botanical conditioners, to service different parts of your hair,” she says.
Once the hair has been balanced and cleansed, Smith preps the hair for blow-drying and flat-ironing by applying hydrating botanical leave-ins and styling products handpicked based on the client’s hair type. The end result? Silky, smooth hair full of body and hydration. "When I’m done, their hair feels like butter. It screams health all over,” Smith tells me.
What Are The Benefits?
According to Smith, the benefits of her vegan blowouts are both internal and external. For women with damaged hair, the vegan blowout serves as a means to revive their curl pattern. “When you go in and wet your hair, let's say two or three weeks later, you actually have to have a tighter curl and better definition because I went in, and I balanced out your hair strands,” she explains. “I have had clients come to me with color, heat, and moisture damage, and within a year, I've brought them back to a head full of curls. I don’t think that would have been possible if I didn’t infuse plant-based products in my blowout.”
Another result of Smith’s holistic blowout system is that it instantly revitalizes dry, brittle strands. Her moisture-boosting botanical treatments work to detoxify the scalp and remove product buildup, leaving the hair feeling lighter and replenished. “Right after I give them their treatment, their hair is soft. Before I put any additional styling products or leave-in conditioners, it’s soft,” Smith notes.
But, above all of the tangible results of her vegan blowout treatments, Smith says the best perk of the treatment is helping Black women see the beauty in their natural hair. “As a Black woman, when you feel good about your hair, it’s a different feeling,” she says. “My clients leave me feeling relieved and capable of doing anything because they don’t have to worry about their hair.”
How Long Does It Last?
A typical blowout can last about two weeks. But, the meticulous care Smith extends to each strand of hair allows many of her clients to wear their blowout for up to a month.
“The length of your blowout ultimately depends on how balanced the porosity of your hair is and how healthy your hair strand is. That's one of the purposes of the blowout, to balance your hair strand. Because when it's balanced, you'll have good curls and a good blowout that will last,” she says.
How Is It Maintained?
After getting a vegan blowout, there are a few ways to preserve the style. “To alleviate your curls coming back sooner, wrap your hair when you’re planning to work out and get sweaty and don’t unwrap your hair until your body is completely dry,” Smith recommends.
She also tells her clients to make sure that they everything they use to maintain their hair post-blowout is free of product and oils. “Your pillow case, your brushes, and your scarves should all be clean. You don't want to put anything with product buildup back on your hair after I recharged and detoxed it.”
After wearing the style for a few weeks, Smith also tells her clients to consider doing heatless hairstyles like twist-outs to add texture to the hair and make the style last longer.